SU to endorse marriage equality ahead of referendum

DCU’s Class Rep Council members made a strong show of support for the LGBTQ community at their meeting last Wednesday, unanimously passing motions to back the marriage equality campaign and support LGBTQ rights.

Laura Harmon of Marriage Equality (and Equality Officer with the Union of Students in Ireland) addressed those gathered, echoing Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore’s views that this is “one of the biggest civil rights issues of our generation”.

“This is certainly a student issue, students want to see change. There’s no reason why same-sex couples shouldn’t be afforded the same rights as any other couple,” she added.

The Students’ Union are to provisionally allocate €2,000 to facilitate DCU students in supporting the ‘yes’ campaign. Busses, placards and a voter registration drive are hoped to be organised in the lead-up to next year’s landmark marriage equality referendum.

The Executive and sabbatical members of the SU will now endorse a pro-marriage equality stance and represent this stance when relevant. A video representing the views of members will also be produced.

According to DCU SU’s Welfare Officer Lorna Finnegan, “it is important for the Students’ Union to support Marriage Equality; Irish people believe in equal rights regardless of sexuality and that gay and lesbian people are equal citizens.

“Marriage is about love, commitment and protecting your loved ones; a celebration every man or woman has the right to.

“Thankfully, Class Rep Council mandated the SU to support this campaign which means students are passionate about this issue; as the voice of the students it is our duty to represent the students of DCU as best as possible and stand for what they believe in.”

There has been widespread support on campus for the solidarity and support shown to the LGBTQ community. Caoimhe Foley of DCU’s LGBTA Society said that the motion means more to LGBT students than simply supporting a campaign.

“To me, it means validation that my existence matters to people outside of the LGBT community. It means that my university believes that I deserve to love and be loved, and I feel safer in my own sexuality around college.”

The society’s ‘Ally Fortnight’ is currently underway and aims to raise awareness of the importance of being a good ally.

The main event of this, a discussion group on homophobia featuring John Lyons TD, Senator Averil Power and DCU PhD student Steve Conlon, took place on Monday.

Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) are also continuing their Winter Olympic protests and have boycotted all products of sponsor companies; Coca Cola, Proctor, and Gamble, across campus in solidarity with the Russian LGBTQ community.

The boycott, expected to last for the duration of the Olympic Games, was made by TCD SU’s Council in response to Russia’s violations of Human Rights Law and persecution of members of the LGBTQ community.

DCU students joined their counterparts from Trinity and other colleges in braving stormy weather on February 5th when to demonstrate outside the Russian embassy in Dublin.

TCD SU President, Tom Lenihan, commented on the protests saying: “we want to send a message to Russia that continuing with this violence and intimidation is not acceptable and make our voices heard in whatever way possible.”

DCU SU have said they completely support the Trinity boycott and the strong stance that university has taken.

Finnian Curran

Image Credit: DCU LGBTA Society

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